Iowa Senator Tom Harkin says Congress should consider pumping more money into the nation’s highway system after the deadly collapse of the Interstate-35-W bridge over the Mississippi River in Minneapolis on Wednesday evening. Harkin says the nation’s interstate system is aging and is handling more traffic than ever anticipated.
Harkin says: "When we built these highways back in the ’50s and ’60s, a lot of our goods and materials traveled by train. In the last 50 years, it’s all shifted to truck. The trucks have been going up and down these interstates and they just beat ’em, they just beat ’em to death. So they need to be refurbished. A lot of it needs to be rebuilt around this country."
Harkin says when the interstate highway system was started five decades ago, planners likely didn’t anticipate the amount of commercial truck traffic that we currently see with the system. Harkin says: "I look forward to seeing what some of the engineers tell us about why this collapsed the way it did but I think it points out that we really need to pay more attention to our infrastructure in this country than we have in the past. We just sort of built all this interstate and said okay, of course we inspect them, but the amount of traffic, truck traffic and car traffic these things are handling now go way, way, way beyond what was ever anticipated in the 50s and 60s."
Harkin says he will call for Congress to fund infrastructure improvements to the federal highway system. The collapse during rush hour left at least four people dead, dozens injured and about 30 people are still missing.